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What’s the Deal with Ragnar?

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 | One Comment

Yesterday, a friend forwarded me a link to a blog post from a race director complaining about the Ragnar relay series. Apparently they’ve begun expanding their series by using well-known courses and scheduling them immediately before, during, or after established races.

At first I assumed this was simply one race director that was pissed about a coincidental scheduling snafu… until I started hearing from more and more well-respected race directors. The situation seems a little bit like Sketchers and their strategy on releasing shoes- wait for someone to develop something innovative, then swoop in and flood the market with a cheap knockoff.

Of course, one race series encroaching on smaller races isn’t a new phenomenon (see “Ironman.”) Should we care? Should we boycott Ragnar? Should we boycott their sponsors? Should we just be happy there’s new opportunities to race?

I’m curious to hear what my readers think. Leave a comment!

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1 Comment

  1. Andy Hamilton
    January 25, 2013

    Nothing is ever simple, and while I’ve emailed the sponsors of Ragnar that I currently do business with because I take the issue pretty seriously…I actually want to share the other side of that.

    Endurance Buzz Adventures, run by Dave Hanenburg here in Texas has put on virtually every trail race I’ve ever run, despite having only been an RD for a short period (relatively speaking). You probably won’t find a nicer guy out there and I have a ton of respect for him and appreciate everything he does.

    With that being said, one of his races, Isle du Bois is actually held on a trail developed by an organization called DORBA (Dallas Off-road Bike Association). Now, the trails were developed by DORBA, but they’re in a state park and open to runners, walkers, hikers, and I guess if you wanted to skate it, no one would tell you to leave (other than the rocks).

    It’s funny, because I did all my training there and despite being developed by, and for, off-road bikers, runners have right of way on those trails (which I ignore and ALWAYS step off the trail for bikes…not only because it’s easier for me to do so than a bike, out of respect for them developing the trail).

    For me, it’s less about someone else using a good trail as long as it’s done with respect, targets a difference audience, and isn’t at the same basic time, because as is very obvious, the trails themselves weren’t developed by the RD in the first place. However, in the case of Ragnar, it would seem Walmart is coming to town to drive your local RD out of business, and that’s something we absolutely should want to have a very active voice in, one way or the other. Your silence is a vote for the person with the advertising dollars to spend.